Dental Bridges: Cosmetic Tooth Replacement
Updated: Jun 7
When a person has a severely damaged or missing tooth, their quality of life is greatly affected. While their smile may not be as beautiful as they'd like, they also are likely to suffer from low self-esteem, discomfort when eating or speaking, and poor oral health. If this describes you, the compassionate dental team at Carraway Family and Cosmetic Dentistry can help. With our affordable cosmetic tooth replacement options, such as porcelain dental bridges, you can restore the health and beauty of your smile in a comfortable, professional environment. Here's everything you need to know about porcelain dental bridges before scheduling a free consultation with Dr. Carraway and our experienced team in Greer, SC.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a cosmetic tooth replacement that is made up of two or more dental crowns, also known as abutment teeth. It acts as an anchor that supports a prosthetic tooth, known as a pontic. A pontic is made from a type of high-strength porcelain called Zirconia and can be supported by natural teeth or dental implants.
There are three main types of dental bridges:
Traditional: These are the most common type of dental bridges and consist of a dental crown that sits on top of the two natural teeth or dental implants on either side of the pontic.
Cantilever: These are used when there are only teeth to support the bridge on one side of the pontic. Because of this, they aren't as strong as a traditional bridge and aren't recommended for use in the back of a person's mouth where they could easily be broken.
Maryland-bonded: These are made of porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal, or plastic teeth supported by porcelain or metal framework bonded to surrounding teeth.
Why Would I Need a Dental Bridge?
Dr. Carraway could recommend a person get a cosmetic tooth replacement for several reasons, including:
A missing tooth
A severely decayed tooth
A broken tooth that is not strong enough to support a dental crown on its own
Dental bridges are good options for people who have a missing or significantly damaged tooth between two healthy, natural teeth or dental implants. Just as its name implies, a dental bridge can "bridge" the gap between healthy teeth or implants with a natural-looking, affordable tooth replacement.
How Could a Dental Bridge Benefit Me?
Dental bridges can help people with missing or damaged teeth regain their quality of life. Some of the many benefits a dental bridge can bring include:
Improving the natural appearance of one's smile
Making it easier to speak and chew
Preventing surrounding teeth from shifting
Promoting good oral health
Maintaining the person's proper bite form and facial structure
What to Expect From Your Dental Bridge Procedure
Having a dental bridge placed into your mouth will require more than one visit to our office for most people. Here's what you can expect during your traditional dental bridge procedure:
Dr. Carraway numbs the surrounding area of your gums where the bridge will be placed.
Then, he will prepare the abutment teeth for their dental crowns by smoothing them down and carefully shaping them.
Next, he will take an impression of your teeth.
While your permanent bridge is being formed in our state-of-the-art laboratory, a temporary bridge or dental crown will be placed in your mouth until your next appointment.
After your permanent bridge arrives from the lab, Dr. Carraway will remove your temporary bridge or crown and place your permanent bridge into your mouth, making sure it fits perfectly and is comfortable.
At Carraway Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, your comfort and safety are our highest priority. Having a cosmetic tooth replacement placed in your mouth should be a virtually painless experience. While some swelling or discomfort may occur after the procedure, be sure to contact us if these symptoms do not resolve quickly or cannot be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.
How Should I Care for My Dental Bridge?
To keep your dental bridge in good condition for many years, practicing good oral hygiene habits is essential. Along with properly caring for your dental bridge, it's important to keep the surrounding teeth supporting it healthy. Damage to the abutment teeth could lead to more serious oral health concerns, including a broken dental bridge. To help your dental bridge stay in tip-top shape, be sure to:
Brush two times a day with a soft electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
Floss or use a water pick once a day, being sure to clean under and around your dental bridge
Rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash daily
Use a water flosser, such as a WaterPik, to clean the teeth and gums underneath the bridge
Eat a well-balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and limit your sugar intake
Visit the dentist every six months for routine exams and professional cleanings
Avoid eating hard, sticky, and/or chewy foods, such as ice, caramel, and popcorn
Don't use tobacco
How Long Do Dental Bridges Last?
With good oral hygiene, it's not uncommon for dental bridges to last well past ten years.
What Happens If I Don't Get a Cosmetic Tooth Replacement?
If you are living with a severely damaged or missing tooth, seeking professional dental care sooner rather than later is critical. Dental problems will not resolve on their own or get better on their own. On the contrary, damaged and missing teeth can put you at risk of experiencing discomfort, affecting your appearance and self-esteem, and can lead to serious oral health conditions, such as infection. With this in mind, it's never a good idea to postpone or avoid having a damaged or missing tooth restored with a cosmetic tooth replacement. Other quick, affordable tooth replacement options include:
Dr. Carraway can help determine which cosmetic tooth replacement option would best suit your needs and create a personalized treatment plan to restore the health of your smile as quickly as possible.
Carraway Family & Cosmetic Dentistry Can Help
If you are living with the discomfort, inconvenience, and embarrassment a severely damaged or missing tooth can bring, Carraway Family and Cosmetic Dentistry is here to help. With our progressive cosmetic tooth replacement, including dental bridges, we can help you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile quickly and easily. Visit us online or give us a call today to schedule your free consultation with our compassionate cosmetic dentist in Greer, SC.